Goals Beyond the Destruction of Apartheid
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 8 Dec 1986, p. 175-186
Buthelezi, Mangosuthu G., Speaker
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Item Type
A meeting held by The Canadian Club of Toronto and The Fraser Institute, with special co-operation by The Empire Club of Canada. The international concern of civil rights. Anupsurge in concern about apartheid in South Africa. Inkatha's role in the struggle for liberation. Distortions by political enemies. Safeguards against discrimination. Eradicating apartheid and rewriting the entire constitution. Problems with division between black and black peoples of South Africa as to what government they want after the end of apartheid. What different groups want in terms of a post-revolutionary government. Possibilities for a multi-party democracy. Statistics regarding the social and economic state of the black population in South Africa. How demographics will affect and post-apartheid government. The need for input from the West in order to avoid a violent overthrow of government. The price and consequences of sanctions for black South Africa.
Date of Original
8 Dec 1986
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Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi, Chief Minister of KwaZulu, President of Inkatha, and Chairman, The South African Black Alliance
Chairman: James K. Warrilow President


Dr. Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi, Chief Minister of the KwaZulu Homeland, a position held since 1976, is also President and founder of Inkatha (the National Cultural Liberation Movement); traditional Prime Minister of the Zulus; and Adviser to the Zulu King. His ancestry can be traced back to King Shaka, founder of the Zulu nation, now numbering 6 million.

His Excellency, who received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Cape Province, has travelled extensively to present his views on the future of South Africa to heads of state and has published several articles and books on the subject. In 1978 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Cape Town. Other awards include Newsmaker of the Year by the South African Society of Journalists, French National Order of Merit and the George Meany Human Rights Award by the AFL-CIO. He serves as Chancellor of the University of Zululand and Chairman of the South African Black Alliance. Despite his staunch opposition to apartheid, Dr. Buthelezi opposes the use of economic sanctions against his country.

Mangosuthu G. Buthelezi

It has long been accepted by all civilised communities that civil rights issues are a matter of international concern. Where there are no civil rights, people do not get the governments they deserve. Where there are no civil rights, it becomes a matter of international concern that the situation is rectified. Where there are no civil rights, the people must struggle for their liberation but it would be a callous and inhuman world in which the international community stood by only as interested spectators to see whether tyranny could be overthrown.

All humanity demands that nations put civil rights issues beyond their own party political agendas, and the international community should facilitate every effort any nation makes to side with struggles against tyranny.

In recent years, there has been a vast upsurge of international concern about apartheid, and the South African government is now repeatedly rejected and condemned for its unwillingness to move South Africa into the democratic twentieth century. As a black South African leader, I thank the West and I thank Canadians for their deep concern about apartheid. Our opposition to apartheid is strengthened by your opposition to apartheid.

In South Africa, I strive for one country, with one sovereign parliament, with universal adult franchise and for a constitution and parliamentary system in which it is totally impossible to distinguish between one human being and another on the basis of race, colour or creed. This is what Canadians themselves aspire to and I share with Western civilised thought the thought that there can be no justice in any society in which racism determines who will be privileged and who will be underprivileged.

I make these few remarks at the outset because I just want to clear the air of one problem and that is the problem of the way my leadership and Inkatha's role in the struggle for liberation is distorted by my own political enemies. I am again and again castigated as a Zulu tribal leader and I ask all thinking Canadians how I can be seeking a special Zulu future if f seek a constitution, parliamentary system and a code of law quite incapable of distinguishing between Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho or any other black of any other black ethnic group. South African law and the existing tricameral parliament and the hideous existing constitution cannot distinguish between white South Africans of Jewish, French, or any other descent.

The only safeguard against discrimination is to remove the definitions of race from the constitution and the law. That is what I strive for. Inkatha's own constitution does not distinguish between Zulu-speaking South Africans and non-Zuluspeaking South Africans. Once a member has joined, there is no possible way of discerning his or her ethnic background. That is why I am sickened by people in the West who keep on asking me how many Zulus and how many non-Zulus are members of Inkatha. We keep no such ethnic roll in Inkatha. We put into practice in our own constitution that which we want to see in the constitution of South Africa.

Inkatha is stronger in KwaZulu than in any other region but the strength of Inkatha in that region has historic and political determinants, not ethnic determinants. The people of the region which apartheid knows as KwaZulu were adamantly determined that they would not be manipulated into the kind of quasi-independence which proved possible in places like Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei.

The homeland policy established an arena and we took up the challenge to grapple with apartheid in that very arena. We have thumped apartheid in that arena and it is our solidarity against oppression, and it is our achievements in solidarity, that has bound the people of KwaZulu together. They are bound together by South African ideals; by black South African yearning for freedom and by a black South African deep-rooted and irradicable determination to banish racism, including the racism of what the West terms "tribalism," from the face of South Africa. Blacks in South Africa have seen the horrendous consequences of the Afrikaner cultural group attempting to preserve its identity through political domination. No black South African worthy of the name will ever attempt to emulate apartheid in this way. Cultural groupings are rich in their heritage, as you know here in Canada, and culture is invaluable to the humanity in us. English-speaking Canadians suffer no disadvantages at law or before the Constitution because Canada has a French speaking cultural group. French-speaking Canadians are not disadvantaged before the law and before the Constitution because they are French-speaking Canadians. Both enjoy real democracy and real equality. Culture does not have to be destroyed in South Africa to produce national unity of purpose and total equality.

My leadership and Inkatha's role in South Africa is so wrongly and so repeatedly attacked in Canada that I thought it necessary to put the record straight in this regard. I ask Canadians simply to reflect on my statement that, throughout my political life, I have fought for the total eradication of racist principles in our constitution and in our law. That fight is totally incompatible with the fight to seek ethnic advantage.

The struggle I wage, together with black South Africans in a variety of different political parties and associations, is so much more than a struggle simply to eradicate apartheid for the scourge that it is. Black South Africans are intensely aware that the struggle for liberation is more than that. In the West, this fact is sometimes lost sight of. Apartheid is so hideous and so offends humanity that its eradication seems justified as an end in itself. In this, of course, they are right, but there are at times many who fail to see that the struggle in a country has to strive to achieve more than the eradication of apartheid.

We not only have to eradicate apartheid but we have to rewrite the entire constitution. The struggle is more than a struggle against unjust laws. It is a struggle to establish a legislature that can make just laws, and this is where I appeal to Canadians really to understand that the script of the society we will live in, in a post-apartheid era, is now being written by the way in which we eradicate apartheid. The South African struggle would be so much simpler if it were only a struggle to eradicate apartheid.

The struggle is complex-because not all those who seek to eradicate apartheid wish to establish the same kind of society after apartheid. There is the nub of the whole problem. Deep divisions between black and black on the question of tactics and strategies are actually deep divisions about what kind of an end-product we would want our tactics and strategies to produce for us.

Black South Africans struggling for a future one-party socialist state choose the tactics and strategies most likely to bring about the circumstances in which they can do so. Black South Africans who struggle to establish a multi-party democracy in a country that retains the free-enterprise system, seek the tactics and strategies most likely to produce that kind of society. Lines of division between black and black are now drawn by these crucial differences of opinion about what comes after apartheid is eliminated. Canadians must understand that not just any means of eradicating apartheid is good enough, unless, of course, it is totally immaterial to them what kind of society follows apartheid. It is on this thought that I want to dwell as my message to Canada.

I would like first of all to observe that seldom, if ever, do violent revolutionaries aspire to establish a multi-party democracy in which they have to compete with others for the right to rule the country they have liberated.

Liberation movements across the world claim the right to rule as a just reward for the revolution they waged. More than this, revolutionaries across the world have a very marked tendency to use the wisdom that was shaped in revolution to rule after revolution. When the kind of wisdom shaped by revolution is used in government, people have to be coerced into doing what is right.

Post-revolutionary governments continue to coerce people into doing what is right. Across the length and breadth of the world, revolutionaries have shown a propensity to assume that they monopolize wisdom about politics and economics and to rule by proscription in post-revolutionary times.

It will be no different in South Africa. There is no South

African revolutionary group fighting to establish a multi-party democracy in which they will have to test themselves before an electorate after the constitution they have not devised is put into practice. This is why the African National Congress says that the only negotiations they are interested in are negotiations to hand over power to the people. They are not fighting a revolution to establish a national convention where the people of South Africa will chart their own course into the future. The ANC Mission in Exile sees itself as a government in exile and it wants to rule as a government returned from exile; it wants to establish a one-party state and it wants to establish a socialist-controlled economy. I make no political propaganda when I make this statement.

The ANC Mission in Exile and those in South Africa who work with them accept the Freedom Charter as the South African document on which constitutional, political and economic developments will be based. The Freedom Charter is, of course, none of these things; it is not a document of systematised economic order; it is not a draft constitution; it contains no word about parliamentary systems.

It is a document that enunciates some first principles and the ANC Mission in Exile wants the power to interpret it and to put it into constitutional, legal, and economic practice as they best see fit. Their concept of democracy is a concept in which the electorate determine which of the candidates put up by the ANC for election will be returned by the people.

I believe that democrats in Canada owe it to South Africa to verify what I say is true. This is what the ANC is, in fact, saying themselves.

The crucial question facing black South Africa is whether it wants a one-party state in the future or a multi-party democracy. I have always striven for the latter from the beginning of my life in politics, because that has always been the primary aim of the South African struggle for liberation ever since 1912.

There is a vast political tradition in black South Africa produced by generations of political endeavour. In this tradition, the ideals of a multi-party democracy are hallowed traditions. l am not blind to the need for adaptation and change as time passes but there is in this matter no need to change. And in fact vast intimidation will have to take place to get black grassroots opinion to reject the ideal of a multi-party democracy.

This hallowed ideal in South Africa must be retained for intensely practical reasons. I know of no true democracy in the world where people are not governed by consensus. Unless there is consensus among the people that they want to be governed as they are being governed, democracy, as Western industrialised nations know it, is impossible.

I say that a multi-party ideal is the only ideal which could' produce the consensus that good government requires. Revolutionaries in South Africa are aware of this and they are aware that it is possible now in South Africa for us to begin making real progress towards consensus about the nature of government in a multi-party democracy. They are aware that this consensus could be reached through the politics of negotiation. They do not want that consensus to emerge demonstrable to the whole world and they dare not allow the politics of negotiation to gain ground for fear that positive outcomes will show that their rationale for the need for revolution in South Africa is more than suspect.

I also opt for a multi-party democracy, because nowhere in the world where there is a multi-party democracy is there a socialist economy. There may be varying degrees of state control over the economy but it is absolutely true to say that the relationship between a free-enterprise economy and a multiparty democracy is a close and intimate relationship. The one implies the other. Whether I like it or not, I must conclude that only the free-enterprise system in South Africa could possibly generate the kind of industrial growth that can produce the vast wealth any government would need to govern effectively after apartheid. Throughout the Third World, we have again and again seen that desperate poverty after liberation has led to ongoing cycles of revolution and counter-revolution. Mass poverty is the enemy of democratic government.

It is simply idle to believe that revolutionaries returning from exile, once ensconced in power in South Africa, could have between them the kind of expertise that it would require for a socialist government to equal the performing power of a free-enterprise system. Apartheid has put ideological goals before sound economic development, but it has had to do so within the restraints of at least a commitment to the fundamental principles of the free-enterprise system. A future revolutionary one-party state lacking even those restraints, in addition to lacking the necessary expertise, will put ideology before economics and the whole world will be witness to the fact that ideology does not fill empty stomachs.

South Africa's black population was 22 million in 1980 and it has been expanding at the rate of something like three per cent per annum. Projections show that, at best, the black population in South Africa will be 35 million in the year 2000, 67 million in the year 2050 and 73 million in the year 2100. At worst, given the continuation of present trends of rates of unemployment, and the continued deterioration of the social environment of blacks, projections show that the black population will be 37 million in the year 2000, 160 million in the year 2050 and 846 million in the year 2100.

There is now a vast population bulge such that over fifty per cent of all black South Africans are fifteen years old and younger. Whatever we do in the struggle for liberation, we must bear in mind that the future we create is a future in which this huge population bulge will be hitting the marketplace. There is already vast under-employment; there is vast unemployment; there is vast poverty and there are vast backlogs in the essentials necessary to meet the people's education, health and welfare needs.

We dare not abandon this vast new generation of young South Africans to the mercies of ideologues who put party political survival above the need to supply food to the masses. How many Canadians actually believe that a one-party Marxist government in South Africa will be able to orchestrate

a very rapid expansion of the country's cash economy? Those Canadians who share with me a deep concern about the economic future of South Africa for the sake of the young people there, must necessarily agree with me that it is only the politics of negotiation leading to a multi-party democracy in which the free-enterprise system will be retained, that will give the struggle for liberation a positive lasting justification.

I repeat that the struggle in South Africa is more than a struggle to overthrow apartheid. Right now there is a race against time to see whether apartheid will be eradicated by violent means or by non-violent means. It is no longer a question of whether apartheid can be overthrown. Apartheid is doomed in South Africa; it cannot last. We have now to face up to the crucial question of how it is going to be overthrown. The assertion that it can only be overthrown through revolution is without foundation in any reality.

I want to make the rather sober statement that unless there ! is a substantial input from the West, apartheid will be overthrown by violence. Western governments need to understand that revolution in South Africa will fail dismally and will be easily overtaken by the politics of negotiation were it not for outside intervention. South African revolutionaries have the full moral, political and material backing of the Soviet Union and the Socialist world. Without that backing, and without the backing of members of the Organisation of African Unity, revolution would be a non-starter in South Africa, not because South Africans are incapable of revolting, but because the vast majority of black South Africans do not wish to bring about change through revolt.

It is simply put when I say it is grossly unfair of the West to expect black South Africans to succeed in offsetting the vast inputs from the Soviet Union without Western aid.

I believe it is vitally necessary that the West develops a very discerning perception of what kind of aid will help balance the scales in South Africa and help bring about a multi-party democracy through the politics of negotiation. It is because I believe so vehemently in the need for a multi-party democracy that I oppose sanctions as a weapon which black South Africa endorses in the struggle for liberation. Sanctions minimise the channels through which the West needs to make vital inputs into South Africa. Sanctions may be a very effective way of sending strong messages to Pretoria, but it is not Pretoria that is going to win or lose the battle for democracy in South Africa. Sanctions may be a very effective way for the West to make moral statements but moral statements in the West will not suffice to balance the scales of revolution versus negotiation in South Africa.

I plead with the West now to accept that the sanctions that have been imposed against South Africa are sanctions that have already proclaimed the West's repugnance of apartheid and have already sent very strong signals to Pretoria. More sanctions will not produce more Western morality. More sanctions will not make the West's message to Pretoria any clearer. We now actually live in a post-sanctions era. Sanctions are realities and they are realities that will inevitably have to be paid for by black South Africa. If for no other reason at all, Western governments should hold their hand on the sanctions front for humanitarian reasons.

Let the West first really determine what the effects of sanctions are and who pays the price. Limited sanctions is a concept which Westerners feel comfortable with, because it denotes that the West is not intent upon destroying the South African economy as such. The West limits sanctions just sufficiently to ensure that sanctions do not go beyond telling moral and diplomatic pressure and do not become destructive. I understand Western sentiment in this regard. I simply ask the West to understand that the concept of limited sanctions is nebulous for hundreds of thousands of black South Africans the so-called limited sanctions have doomed to unemployment already.

Canadians will only pay a small price for Canadian sanctions against South Africa. The South African government will make the internal adjustments that will result in them only paying a small price. The privileged class of whites will make

further adjustments but what adjustments are there for poor labourers to make once they lose their jobs? Sanctions will radicalise what is already a very volatile South African situation.

Sanctions will work to radicalise black politics and this is precisely why the more revolutionary a black South African is, the more fervently he calls for sanctions. For revolutionaries, the application of sanctions is not the last step in non-violent action. It is a first step towards violent action. Deepening poverty suits the revolutionaries. It undermines non-violent, democratic opposition to apartheid.

Apartheid is reprehensible and it does amount to a crime against mankind. The international community is entirely justified in taking action to oppose apartheid. I know a great many prominent North Americans both in the United States and here whom I profoundly respect who have campaigned for sanctions. I respect their reasons for doing so, but I say now to them: Do not let disputes over sanctions divide the people who belong together in the fight for justice. Do not let differing views on the efficacy of sanctions isolate us from each other when we belong together because we share the same ideals.

Sanctions do not amount to political principles. They are practical measures that may or may not achieve their objectives.

I seek the same objectives as those who impose sanctions seek. Whether we oppose sanctions, or whether we encourage sanctions, should make no difference when it comes to offsetting the price the poorest of the poor have to pay because of sanctions. It is now recognised both in North America and Europe that sanctions package deals have to be balanced with greatly stepped-up humanitarian aid to the victims of apartheid. Now that we live in a post-sanctions era, let us do whatever can be done to minimise the price the victims of apartheid will have to pay. That in itself will make a contribution to balancing the South African scales of violence and non-violence.

Western governments have put pressure on Pretoria because they want Pretoria to negotiate with blacks about the future of the country. The West accepts that this is the best way of bringing about progress towards a just society. The West also accepts that, outside of revolutionary change, the South African government must be involved in negotiations. There will either be a new constitution because it is a negotiated constitution between black and white, or there will be a new constitution because it is thrust on South Africa by victorious revolutionaries. This is a very hard bit of reality that I have had to swallow as a black South African. It is a bitter reality so many find so difficult to swallow.

Protest politics so frequently is the politics of confrontation and non-involvement that precludes negotiations with government. As violence spirals upwards, strident demands grow and the radicalisation that takes place, swells the ranks of those who refuse to negotiate with the South African government. In this way, South Africa moves inexorably towards a revolutionary future. We either negotiate or we revolt. There are no alternatives. The West wants us in fact to negotiate and I ask the West to be evermore deeply conscious of the need to strengthen the politics of negotiation and not merely to strengthen protest and to register protest themselves.

The State President, Pieter Botha, will have to negotiate one of these days because he has no alternative, other than the alternative of fighting a racist war in a situation in which scorched-earth policies will meet with scorched-earth policies to lay bare the land and make it not only ungovernable for the present government, but ungovernable for future governments of whatever kind.

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Goals Beyond the Destruction of Apartheid

A meeting held by The Canadian Club of Toronto and The Fraser Institute, with special co-operation by The Empire Club of Canada. The international concern of civil rights. Anupsurge in concern about apartheid in South Africa. Inkatha's role in the struggle for liberation. Distortions by political enemies. Safeguards against discrimination. Eradicating apartheid and rewriting the entire constitution. Problems with division between black and black peoples of South Africa as to what government they want after the end of apartheid. What different groups want in terms of a post-revolutionary government. Possibilities for a multi-party democracy. Statistics regarding the social and economic state of the black population in South Africa. How demographics will affect and post-apartheid government. The need for input from the West in order to avoid a violent overthrow of government. The price and consequences of sanctions for black South Africa.